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Goonthegoof
2010-03-04, 02:56 AM
The draconomicon mentions prestige classes for dragons and my question is this: Does that mean I can give dragons normal classes? Can I give a dragon levels of warblade?

Eldariel
2010-03-04, 03:02 AM
The draconomicon mentions prestige classes for dragons and my question is this: Does that mean I can give dragons normal classes? Can I give a dragon levels of warblade?

Sure. Classed Dragons are some of the most frightening adversaries ever, especially if you decide to benefit of the non-associated class-level rules. I've heard Dragon Clerics of Tiamat are pretty damn scary...

TaintedLight
2010-03-04, 03:02 AM
There's no real reason I can think of that you couldn't have a dragon warblade. There are no requirements for taking base class levels unless the race or existing classes, feats, etc. on that creature restrict it from doing so.

Also, a dragon warblade would be TERRIFYING.

Goonthegoof
2010-03-04, 03:05 AM
Seems to be way too strong though. If I say, took a 44HD gold dragon but replaced the 3 HD of the virtual age category with a level of warblade, a level of monk and a level of fist of the forest it would have 3 ninth level maneuvers, a pretty good iterative attacks and 22 bonus AC.

Greymane
2010-03-04, 03:08 AM
I like the Sovereign Archetype that gives them cleric spells (I'm looking at you Divine Power). Then give them Swordsage levels, as you could argue those being non-associated. Trick out his wisdom a bit, and you have something pretty scary.

TaintedLight
2010-03-04, 03:11 AM
Seems to be way too strong though. If I say, took a 44HD gold dragon but replaced the 3 HD of the virtual age category with a level of warblade, a level of monk and a level of fist of the forest it would have 3 ninth level maneuvers, a pretty good iterative attacks and 22 bonus AC.

I'd agree with that. Racial HD, even decent ones like dragon HD with high saves, hit die, BAB, and such tend to be weaker than class levels (especially good classes like the martial adepts). Hit Dice tends to be a relatively clumsy way to calculate real power or CR in my experience.

Eldariel
2010-03-04, 03:20 AM
Seems to be way too strong though. If I say, took a 44HD gold dragon but replaced the 3 HD of the virtual age category with a level of warblade, a level of monk and a level of fist of the forest it would have 3 ninth level maneuvers, a pretty good iterative attacks and 22 bonus AC.

You can't replace the HD (well, you as a DM can, but not by the rules). You have to take the levels the oldfashioned way. An example would be...oh, say, let's take a weak Dragon.

White Dragons (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/dragonTrue.htm#whiteDragon) are pretty much the losers of the Dragondom; their Breath Weapon is pitiful, their spellcasting is horribly slow, their stats are weak, they don't get much HD, their natural attacks are unimpressive. Overall, they're losers.


So, let's take Mature Adult White Dragon. Thing is CR 12 though I'm betting your average level 8 party has little to fear from it; 1st level spells, 7d6 breath weapon (yes, worse than party-level caster's fireballs from a boss-type opponent), DR/Magic with the only good things being decent AC (well, 28), decent attack and a tankload of HP. Even its special abilities are majorly lame with only the Burrow-speed being any good, Fog Cloud giving it a level 2 spell. Whoppedoo!

Soo, then we take these wonderful Cleric-levels. A whole 20 of them. Now it's CR22. But wait! It's a Cleric 20 and it has rather high base NA, Str, BAB, HP and so on. It's...Cleric 20 with twice the HD. So, you're looking at a Cleric 20 with 41 BAB, 28 AC before accounting for anything, +16 Str, +10 Con, +2 Mentals, never fail saves and a bucketful of extra feats. Then it goes Clericzilla, playing into its natural strengths while packing teleportation and contingencies, disjunctions, time stops (pick domains, etc.), blasphemies, planeshifts and so on. Now that's a White Dragon.

Runestar
2010-03-04, 03:27 AM
White Dragons are pretty much the losers of the Dragondom; their Breath Weapon is pitiful, their spellcasting is horribly slow, their stats are weak, they don't get much HD, their natural attacks are unimpressive. Overall, they're losers.

They make it up with their lower cr though, so at any cr bracket, an older white dragon would not be inferior to a younger dragon of the same cr.

I think that dragons (like any other monster npc) benefits from a small lv of class lvs, but afterwards, begins to lag behind because class lvs increase its cr too much (you are looking at roughly 3 dragon HD for +2cr, compared to 2-4 class lvs), and additional HD increases its age category, as well as improving its other stats.

However, class lvs are useful if you do not want to increase the dragon's size.

Warblade or swordsage would be scary. Imagine a high lv dragon using quicksilver motion to move, then initiating time stands still for 2 full rounds of attacks. :smalleek:

Barb gives rage and possibly pounce. :smallbiggrin:

Irreverent Fool
2010-03-04, 04:51 AM
Bear in mind that sorcerer levels stack with the dragon's innate spellcasting abilities.

obnoxious
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Goonthegoof
2010-03-04, 04:57 AM
New question: Can dragons above 20HD take epic feats?

Rainbownaga
2010-03-04, 05:09 AM
The problem with warblade is that racial HD don't count towards your initiator level, meaning the ancient dragon is only attacking you with first level maneuvers from its 2 levels of warblade.

Irreverent Fool
2010-03-04, 05:10 AM
New question: Can dragons above 20HD take epic feats?

20 HD is the normal requirement for epic feats, so yes?

Additionally any creature with dragon age categories of or above the age of 'Old' qualifies for epic feats. (DrC)

obnoxious
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Soranar
2010-03-04, 05:31 AM
actually any true dragon qualifies for epic feats as long as they meet the requirements

Runestar
2010-03-04, 05:41 AM
The problem with warblade is that racial HD don't count towards your initiator level, meaning the ancient dragon is only attacking you with first level maneuvers from its 2 levels of warblade.

I am fairly sure racial HD does in fact count, which means that martial adepts would make excellent dips on monsters with a lot of racial HD for their cr.

ToB simply states a creature has IL = 1/2 character lv, which is defined as the total amount of HD they have (ie: racial HD + class lvs).

So the trick here is to have the dragon first take martial study three times, allowing it to quickly and easily qualify for the higher lv maneuvers when it takes its first lv of warblade or swordsage. In addition, this increases the number of maneuvers you can initiate (a dragon warblade1 with martial studyx3 can use up to 6 maneuvers, compared to a normal warblade who can only use 3 without refreshing). :smallbiggrin:

HunterOfJello
2010-03-04, 06:09 AM
Only if they take the Stone Dragon maneuvers :smalltongue:

magic9mushroom
2010-03-04, 06:26 AM
actually any true dragon qualifies for epic feats as long as they meet the requirements

Where are you getting this from? Or rather, yes, but one of the requirements is "must be >20 HD" and they IIRC have no way to circumvent that.

Unless they're Old or older.


So the trick here is to have the dragon first take martial study three times, allowing it to quickly and easily qualify for the higher lv maneuvers when it takes its first lv of warblade or swordsage. In addition, this increases the number of maneuvers you can initiate (a dragon warblade1 with martial studyx3 can use up to 6 maneuvers, compared to a normal warblade who can only use 3 without refreshing). :smallbiggrin:

You can't refresh maneuvers that you learned with Martial Study before you took a ToB class, so they're 1/encounter.

Eldariel
2010-03-04, 06:49 AM
I am fairly sure racial HD does in fact count, which means that martial adepts would make excellent dips on monsters with a lot of racial HD for their cr.

ToB simply states a creature has IL = 1/2 character lv, which is defined as the total amount of HD they have (ie: racial HD + class lvs).

So the trick here is to have the dragon first take martial study three times, allowing it to quickly and easily qualify for the higher lv maneuvers when it takes its first lv of warblade or swordsage. In addition, this increases the number of maneuvers you can initiate (a dragon warblade1 with martial studyx3 can use up to 6 maneuvers, compared to a normal warblade who can only use 3 without refreshing). :smallbiggrin:

You can take Martial Stance any number of times to qualify for anything. My preferred method though? Take one level in each initiator class. The schools overlap to a significant degree meaning you have easy access to all but high-level exclusive school maneuvers that way.

That said, Cleric Dragon is just insane. Completely non-associated levels, total whoopass. Like the CR22 Dragon I presented would wipe the floor with any standard CR22 Dragon in the books, specifically owing to White Dragon CR and non-associated class levels.

Irreverent Fool
2010-03-04, 08:30 AM
I am fairly sure racial HD does in fact count, which means that martial adepts would make excellent dips on monsters with a lot of racial HD for their cr.

ToB simply states a creature has IL = 1/2 character lv, which is defined as the total amount of HD they have (ie: racial HD + class lvs).

So the trick here is to have the dragon first take martial study three times, allowing it to quickly and easily qualify for the higher lv maneuvers when it takes its first lv of warblade or swordsage. In addition, this increases the number of maneuvers you can initiate (a dragon warblade1 with martial studyx3 can use up to 6 maneuvers, compared to a normal warblade who can only use 3 without refreshing). :smallbiggrin:

You know, I was going to try and refute that post, too, but what ToB says, as far as I can tell is:


INITIATOR LEVEL
If you are a single-class character, your initiator level equals your level in the class that provides access to martial maneuvers. If you lack any martial adept levels, your initator level is equal to 1/2 your character level.

MULTICLASS CHARACTERS
...If you are a multiclass martial adept, and you learn a new maneuver by attaining a new level in a martial adept class, determine your initiator level by adding together your level in that class +1/2 your levels in all other classes.
...
This process applies to all of a character's levels, whether they are in martial adept classes or other classes.

Thus, the text is only a little unclear. The term 'character level' is used once, which includes 'class levels'. The narrower term is used later and seems to clarify. The SRD glossary separates Racial Hit Dice and Class Levels as far as I can tell, but I believe that the term 'character level' refers to Hit Dice whether those dice be from RHD or class levels. Those posting in the "Simple Q&A by RAW (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=6472123&postcount=662)" seem to have had the same discussion (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=6472499&postcount=663).

By a strict reading of the rules, only class levels count. I don't think it would be outside of RAI to allow RHD to count, even in the case of a dragon. If you are building such a thing, you're probably the DM anyway so it's almost a moot point.

@Eladriel: I like that idea. You'd only be a single IL behind in any given class and would have a ridiculous number of options available at any given time.

Edit: I can see that some confusion/inconsistency might arise if the dragon takes Martial Study without any class levels, as only the first paragraph would apply, giving the dragon 1/2 its HD in IL with those maneuvers.

Edit2: In fact, looking back over the text, the bit that refers to only class levels counting falls under the heading of multiclass characters and so the question becomes whether a single-classed creature with RHD is a multiclass character and I would have to say that the answer is no.

According to the SRD, a creature with both RHD and class levels is only "effectively" multiclassed for the purposes of determining ECL and XP and a creatures RHD are always considered a favored class.

So, a 22HD dragon with 10 levels in warblade is a single-classed character, allowing him to count 1/2 his character level toward his initiator level.

obnoxious
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Goonthegoof
2010-03-04, 08:54 AM
Ok, I just noticed dragons don't have spellcraft as a class skill, locking out some really useful feats. What's the easiest way to get spellcraft as a class skill?

Edit: Noticed blue dragons have it. How could I get it for golds?

Eldariel
2010-03-04, 09:03 AM
Ok, I just noticed dragons don't have spellcraft as a class skill, locking out some really useful feats. What's the easiest way to get spellcraft as a class skill?

Edit: Noticed blue dragons have it. How could I get it for golds?

By reading their entry? They have both, Spellcraft and Concentration. Blue Dragons, on the other hand, seem to miss both. I'm a bit confused by what you're reading. Also, cross-class ranks and Apprentice-feats and such.

Goonthegoof
2010-03-04, 09:09 AM
'Most dragons purchase the following skills at the maximum ranks possible: Listen, Search, and Spot. The remaining skill points are generally spent on Concentration, Diplomacy, Escape Artist, Intimidate, Knowledge (any), Sense Motive, and Use Magic Device at a cost of 1 skill point per rank.'

'Skills: Disguise, Heal, and Swim are considered class skills for gold dragons.'

Spellcraft doesn't seem to be on there

Eldariel
2010-03-04, 09:15 AM
'Most dragons purchase the following skills at the maximum ranks possible: Listen, Search, and Spot. The remaining skill points are generally spent on Concentration, Diplomacy, Escape Artist, Intimidate, Knowledge (any), Sense Motive, and Use Magic Device at a cost of 1 skill point per rank.'

'Skills: Disguise, Heal, and Swim are considered class skills for gold dragons.'

Spellcraft doesn't seem to be on there

If you, however, look at the example Gold Dragon you'll notice it has full Spellcraft ranks. As per the monster rule of "all skills listed with ranks in the description are class skills", yeah.

Goonthegoof
2010-03-04, 09:20 AM
Thanks heaps :smallbiggrin:

Fiery Diamond
2010-03-04, 09:50 AM
What classes count as non-associated classes for Dragons versus counting as associated? Clearly, sorcerer is an associated class. But the text doesn't seem to be very clear on what makes something associated or non-associated.

Uin
2010-03-04, 09:50 AM
+1 level of Sorcerer with the Swift Metamagic ACF (PHB2) means dragons with quickened spells. Innately high Int allows for lots of uses. My favourite trick.

Eldariel
2010-03-04, 09:55 AM
What classes count as non-associated classes for Dragons versus counting as associated? Clearly, sorcerer is an associated class. But the text doesn't seem to be very clear on what makes something associated or non-associated.

It's quite clear Sorcerer is associated and I'd say any martial class is also associated, but casters that don't advance the Dragon's inherent casting are.


+1 level of Sorcerer with the Swift Metamagic ACF (PHB2) means dragons with quickened spells. Innately high Int allows for lots of uses. My favourite trick.

That's rather weak outside Very High Int-types, especially if they're using Multispell. I'm big on Rapid Metamagic [CMage]-feat myself; I think it was made for Dragons.

Cyclocone
2010-03-04, 10:16 AM
The rules are pretty clear on what makes a class associated or not:


Associated Class Levels

Class levels that increase a monsterís existing strengths are known as associated class levels. Each associated class level a monster has increases its CR by 1.

Barbarian, fighter, paladin, and ranger are associated classes for a creature that relies on its fighting ability.

Rogue and ranger are associated classes for a creature that relies on stealth to surprise its foes, or on skill use to give itself an advantage.

A spellcasting class is an associated class for a creature that already has the ability to cast spells as a character of the class in question, since the monsterís levels in the spellcasting class stack with its innate spellcasting ability.

Nonassociated Class Levels

If you add a class level that doesnít directly play to a creatureís strength the class level is considered nonassociated, and things get a little more complicated. Adding a nonassociated class level to a monster increases its CR by Ĺ per level until one of its nonassociated class levels equals its original Hit Dice. At that point, each additional level of the same class or a similar one is considered associated and increases the monsterís CR by 1.

Levels in NPC classes are always treated as nonassociated.

Also, Abjurant Champion; put all that BAB to use.

Sereg
2010-03-04, 11:23 AM
As the others said, there's nothing stopping you from giving a dragon class levels. Of course, if you are interested in a warblade dragon shameless plug.

Draz74
2010-03-04, 11:31 AM
Assuming the party doesn't have any Initiate of Mystra or Mailman cheese, the best is a Dragon Warblade (or other ToB class) that uses its racial spellcasting to drop an Antimagic Field at the beginning of the combat. :smallcool:

tyckspoon
2010-03-04, 11:46 AM
Assuming the party doesn't have any Initiate of Mystra or Mailman cheese, the best is a Dragon Warblade (or other ToB class) that uses its racial spellcasting to drop an Antimagic Field at the beginning of the combat. :smallcool:

Doesn't work as well as you'd think- AMF's 10 foot emanation doesn't cover Huge and Gargantuan dragons very well, and the combination of extra class levels+ enough age categories to cast AMF at all means you're probably looking at an Epic fight, at which point your opponents are thankful you decided to use AMF instead of killing them.

At least, that's how it turns out if you remember the actual rule where a spell effect centered on a creature originates from a single grid intersection of that character's space. If you instead run it so that the AMF covers the Dragon's entire space and only then emanates an additional 10 feet starting from each edge of the Dragon's space, then yeah, that AMF is much more effective (although still likely to be a relatively minor nuisance for a party that would be facing an AMF-capable dragon as any kind of reasonable fight.)

Xenogears
2010-03-04, 11:53 AM
Doesn't work as well as you'd think- AMF's 10 foot emanation doesn't cover Huge and Gargantuan dragons very well, and the combination of extra class levels+ enough age categories to cast AMF at all means you're probably looking at an Epic fight, at which point your opponents are thankful you decided to use AMF instead of killing them.

At least, that's how it turns out if you remember the actual rule where a spell effect centered on a creature originates from a single grid intersection of that character's space. If you instead run it so that the AMF covers the Dragon's entire space and only then emanates an additional 10 feet starting from each edge of the Dragon's space, then yeah, that AMF is much more effective (although still likely to be a relatively minor nuisance for a party that would be facing an AMF-capable dragon as any kind of reasonable fight.)

Use Evil Weather to cast violet Rain then? Only affects divine magic but it completely cuts them off so no spells at all. Also magic items created through divine magic become mundane until the rain stops. Better hope the cleric wasn't the crafter...

Quietus
2010-03-04, 11:57 AM
Also, Abjurant Champion; put all that BAB to use.

Oh dear god. That's....... that's just mean. I love it.

Fiery Diamond
2010-03-04, 12:12 PM
The rules are pretty clear on what makes a class associated or not:

Srd stuff


Also, Abjurant Champion; put all that BAB to use.

Wait. So let me get this straight: Rogue, Monk, Cleric, Wizard, Druid, and Bard are the non-associated classes in core. Everything else in core is associated. It isn't a stretch to say that all full-BAB classes are associated. (well, rogue might be associated for some dragons).

This is fine, until you consider the fact that Bard and Monk are the only two non-associated classes out of core that you can add without making the critter supah-powah'd.

Draz74
2010-03-04, 12:13 PM
Doesn't work as well as you'd think- AMF's 10 foot emanation doesn't cover Huge and Gargantuan dragons very well, and the combination of extra class levels+ enough age categories to cast AMF at all means you're probably looking at an Epic fight, at which point your opponents are thankful you decided to use AMF instead of killing them.

At least, that's how it turns out if you remember the actual rule where a spell effect centered on a creature originates from a single grid intersection of that character's space. If you instead run it so that the AMF covers the Dragon's entire space and only then emanates an additional 10 feet starting from each edge of the Dragon's space, then yeah, that AMF is much more effective (although still likely to be a relatively minor nuisance for a party that would be facing an AMF-capable dragon as any kind of reasonable fight.)

Well, first, I think of AMF more as offense than as defense. So even if it just originates from one of the dragon's intersections (hint: pick a corner), the dragon can position it to cover the party's primary casters. Sure, they can move out of it and still cast at the exposed parts of the dragon ... unless they're cornered, or grappled. If they're cornered, well, attacks of opportunity against a squishy mage whose magical defenses are temporarily down is A Good Thing. And grappling is pretty amazing, using the dragon's racial Crush attack on the most dangerous party members (and ignoring the nonsensical clause that says dragons generally don't favor grappling combat).

As for the CR ... I only had 1-3 Warblade levels in mind. But still, yeah, I guess that means this would be epic, unless it's a Very Old Brass Dragon with 1 Warblade level.

Regardless of epic/nonepic, I agree this probably isn't worth wasting a combat standard action on. But if the dragon knows the fight is coming, it's a great buffing round.

Though ... I am also very fond of dragons having Scintillating Scales up ...

Volkov
2010-03-04, 12:45 PM
What classes count as non-associated classes for Dragons versus counting as associated? Clearly, sorcerer is an associated class. But the text doesn't seem to be very clear on what makes something associated or non-associated.

No sir, no pc class is associated for true dragons as the draconomicon tells us.

tyckspoon
2010-03-04, 12:48 PM
No sir, no pc class is associated for true dragons.

Sorcerer is explicitly associated for any dragon old enough to have its racial casting. Any full-BAB class should also be, because they build on the dragon's existing strengths (those being primarily very high physical stats, lots of HD that already give full BAB, and a truckload of natural attacks.) There is no text that supports your claim.

Edit: Draconomicon? Where? I will concede if I can find it, but it's a pretty big and poorly indexed book. Got a page reference?

Volkov
2010-03-04, 12:56 PM
Sorcerer is explicitly associated for any dragon old enough to have its racial casting. Any full-BAB class should also be, because they build on the dragon's existing strengths (those being primarily very high physical stats, lots of HD that already give full BAB, and a truckload of natural attacks.) There is no text that supports your claim.

Edit: Draconomicon? Where? I will concede if I can find it, but it's a pretty big and poorly indexed book. Got a page reference?

I think my copy is in my attic since I can't find it in my room, when I get back home I'll look for it.

PlzBreakMyCmpAn
2010-03-05, 01:24 AM
Sure. Classed Dragons are some of the most frightening adversaries everIf u optimize any monster with class levels, its gonna get ugly...


Racial HD, even decent ones like dragon HD with high saves, hit die, BAB, and such tend to be weaker than class levels (especially good classes like the martial adepts). Hit Dice tends to be a relatively clumsy way to calculate real power or CR in my experience.Which is exactly why I vary ECL to be free Floor(LA/2) first RHD.


only class levels countyup

Irreverent Fool
2010-03-05, 08:20 AM
Only classes count

yup

Actually, from reading the section on single-classed characters in the ToB, it appears that for a single-classed dragon, character level is what counts. I didn't realized that until my edit, though.

obnoxious
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Runestar
2010-03-05, 08:41 AM
Sorcerer is explicitly associated for any dragon old enough to have its racial casting.

I seriously doubt it.

2 sorc lvs increases the dragon's cr by 2, and grants +2 sorc spellcasting, d4 hp, +1bab and good will saves. The side benefit is that you get a familiar, which can in turn be traded out for some other ability, plus the elite stat array for free.

For the same +2cr, I could just as readily be tacking on 3 extra dragon HD, which grants +3bab, good saves, d12s, as well as improving the dragon's existing abilities (improved sr, DCs, breath weapon damage, size, stats etc).

Not to mention that dragons too can qualify and take the abjurant champion prc (though they probably have to "waste" a feat on martial weapon prof first.

So it appears there really is no reason to ever take more than 1 lv in sorc for a dragon (or any other creature with innate sorc spellcasting). :smallconfused:

magic9mushroom
2010-03-05, 09:00 AM
So it appears there really is no reason to ever take more than 1 lv in sorc for a dragon (or any other creature with innate sorc spellcasting). :smallconfused:

There are creatures with innate sorc spellcasting that doesn't scale.

PhoenixRivers
2010-03-05, 09:34 AM
Here's one of my favorite class/dragon combos. And this uses non-associated class levels, but doesn't break them, like some people.

Adult Blue Dragon (monk 2)
CR: 15

HD: 21d12+2d8+115 (260)
Abilities: Str:27, Dex 10, Con 21, Int 16, Wis 17, Cha 16
BAB/Grapple: +22/+42
Attack: +28
Saves: Fort +20, Reflex +15, Will +18
Special Attacks: Breath Weapon (Line of Lightning 12d8, Ref 25 half)
Frightful Presence (Will DC 25 negates)
Flurry of Blows
Special Qualities: Immune to Electricity, Create/Destroy Water, Sound Imitation, Ventriloquism, DR 5/magic, SR 21, Evasion, Sorceror Casting
Movement: 40, Burrow 20, Fly 150 (poor)
Initiative: +0
AC: 31 (-2 Size, +20 Natural +3 Monk)

Casts as a 5th level sorceror, can include cleric spells, and spells of evil, law, and air domains.

Feats: Choose 5 + Improved Unarmed Strike, Improved Grapple, Deflect Arrows, Multiattack, Improved Multiattack, Power Attack

Full Attack Unarmed strike +28/+23/+18/+13 (2d6+8) and Bite +28 (2d8+7) and 2 Claws +28 (2d6+3), and 2 Wing Buffets +28 (2d6+3) and Tail Slap +28 (2d6+10)

With 10 foot reach and a full attack pattern of 10 attacks, the potential for damage is grisly. Add in good save boosts, evasion, a grapple boost, and the ability to automatically ignore one ranged attack per round, and we're getting to somewhere decent.

Give this thing Blindfight, Obscuring Mist and Wraithstrike, at it can be a reasonable challenge for a level 15 party, and a risky proposition for a level 13 party caught off guard.

All without being too crazy powerful. In theory, you could set yourself up for Fist of the Forest, and go there, but I always consider PrC's associated, no matter what. Still, Con to AC would be fun.

Volkov
2010-03-05, 09:47 AM
Take an axiomatic great wyrm red dragon, give it ten levels in unholy ravager of tiamat, and another twenty two levels in cleric. You now have a literal, firebreathing Clericzilla.